When we think of Abraham Lincoln the associations are plentiful, interesting and usually political in nature. One association which may be lesser often made is that he suffered from gigantism, a condition of inordinate growth, usually caused by acromegaly.
The pituitary is a small gland located at the base of your brain behind the bridge of your nose. It is responsible for the production of many different hormones including GH or growth hormone.
Acromegaly, a hormonal disorder, can develop in growing children or during adulthood, usually in middle age. This condition is the result of the pituitary gland producing too much GH or growth hormone. It causes an increase in the bone size of the hands, face and feet.
In children who are still growing, too much growth hormone can cause a condition called gigantism. This is most likely how Lincoln was affected. In such cases, children experience an increase in normal height and exaggerated bone growth.
Acromegaly is difficult to understand, largely due to the fact that it is not very prevalent in the general population and also because its effects occur slowly, over time, making it difficult to track.
Any changes that continue to occur, particularly in fully grown adults, should begin to be monitored. Changes in the size and structure of the bones in the face, an increase in one's ring or shoe size should be things that alert you to the possibility of acromegaly.
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Aimee Boyle is a freelance writer and regular contributor to EmpowHer